Rachael Shaner, the upright bass-wielding siren of the band Lulu the Giant, sees Savannah as a majestic old oak tree — lots of beauty and life above the surface, but also essential roots reaching deep into the underground.

 

Rachael Shaner, the upright bass-wielding siren of the band Lulu the Giant, sees Savannah as a majestic old oak tree — lots of beauty and life above the surface, but also essential roots reaching deep into the underground.

With this image in mind, Shaner and her friends organized the Undergo Festival, a three-day celebration of local music and arts in the community featuring over 30 bands, artists and performers from March 9-11.

 

“These artists, these musicians… people don’t even know that we have this here… It’s underground, it’s the roots of Savannah, of the oak tree,” says Shaner. “There is a lot going on up top, but you have to recognize these local businesses, local artists, people who are doing it for the love of it.”

Shaner originally planned to play a small gig with her friends in Lyn Avenue and Ember City, but word spread fast and 15 more bands asked her if they could get on the bill. Before she knew it, the small show grew into a full-fledged music festival. Bands from out of town were calling, as well, but Shaner wanted to keep it all local.

“... Maybe we’re just a little stubborn, like an oak that grows through the cracks anyway without a lot of support," she said. "I do believe the progress is slow, but it’s still growing. The only way to make it grow sometimes is to break some branches off and graft some in.”

The Undergo Festival is all-ages and free, but they will accept donations for local nonprofits. Cuisine will be provided by local food trucks and Dead Eric Brewing Co. has produced a special UnderGolden Ale specifically for the event. All proceeds from merchandise and alcohol sales go straight back to the artists.

 

Savannah Film Co. is hosting the festival and performers will be alternating between an indoor and outdoor stage to ensure no one plays at the same time and guests don’t have to forego seeing one band to see another. The lineup encompasses a dizzyingly broad range of genres.

“We’ve got rappers, cosmic country, super soul, jazz, funk, blues …” says Shaner excitedly. “We will be celebrating each other and appreciating each other’s music and the genres and creativity we express in different ways, but now we’re at the same venue on the same wavelength.”

To symbolize the diverse and collaborative spirit of the Undergo Festival, a grand piano will be on display in the lot and attendees are invited to add their own artistic touch to it with provided paint.

“One person can’t do everything,” says Shaner. “It takes a team and everyone has contributed in such a huge way. It’s the same way with the artists and the musicians who have so willingly jumped on board. We love each other, support each other; we are absolutely there for each other and that’s the difference. It’s for artists, by artists, and we’re going to make it the best festival we can for each other and the city.”